Stop Slumping!

 by Charlotte Bennardo

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

We've all been there; a slump in writing, reading, motivation, whatever. For an author a slump can be bad for business, career, and morale. It's easy for people to say, "Oh, you'll be better tomorrow", "You'll think of something", or, "Think of something happy." 

That usually doesn't help. It's like telling a person dealing with depression to "Cheer up." It's not only patronizing but could make the person feel worse. If it were as simple as someone saying "Cheer up" then there'd be a lot of doctors and therapists out of work. 

If only it was that simple. A lot of authors' careers might have been longer. 

So what should an author do?

I have several mechanisms for getting out of a slump. The first is for me to step away. Sitting at a desk trying to force the muse doesn't work. If she's not in the mood to converse and share her creativity, I'll just have to wait her out. Or trick her.

There's nothing like yanking out weeds as I ponder, 'How long should I make him suffer?' or 'Should I take everything away from her?' I gleefully envision pitfalls and perils while pulling bits of clover out by their roots. After an hour or two, I have at least two ideas how to proceed. Of course, if it's midwinter, that's not possible. My next go to- clean like a madwoman. Cleaning out closets or sliding furniture away from the wall to vacuum underneath is mindless. When doing something by rote, my imagination is free to wander. 'What would I do in this character's position?' 'Suppose they never did this?' What if... opens up so many alternate courses for my characters. 

Those are two of my avenues for getting out of slump. I have others; riding my bike for a few miles, going on a hike, reading another author's book, or even re-reading my draft from the very beginning. Sometimes I'll ask fellow authors what they suggest. 

There are times when even those actions don't work. It may take a few days away from the desk, computer, sentences. 

But no more than a week goes by and I find I'm itching to get back to work. 

What helps you get through a slump?

Share your secrets!

Charlotte writes MG, YA, NA, and adult novels in sci fi, fantasy, contemporary, and paranormal genres. She is the author of the middle grade Evolution Revolution trilogy, Simple Machines, Simple Plans, and Simple Lessons. She co-authored the YA novels Blonde OPS, Sirenz, and Sirenz Back in Fashion. She has two short stories in the Beware the Little White Rabbit (Alice through the Wormhole) and Scare Me to Sleep (Faces in the Wood) anthologies. Currently she is working on several novels for both children and adults and her MFA. She lives in NJ with her family and two demanding cats. When they trimmed the backyard tree, the crazy squirrel couple had to move out.


  1. Yes! Being outside is the best tool I have for beating a slump.


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